By Stuart W. Sanders When the Civil War erupted, so many of Lisbon, Ohio-born Robert McCook’s large extended family joined the Union Army that the clan became known as the “Fighting McCooks.” Nine brothers, his father, uncle, and five cousins all entered Federal service. Many of them would not live to see the end of the war. "I Know the Germans Will Fight" Having opened a law practice in Cincinnati, 33-year-old Robert McCook became colonel of the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The regiment was composed mainly of German residents of the Queen City, many of whom had seen prior service in European wars. McCook had specifically wanted to command an all-German regiment, stating, “I know the Germans will fight. Our American boys mean well enough, but they don’t know how.” On April 22, 1861, 10 companies of the 9th Ohio were enrolled for three months’ service. With no uniforms available at the time, McCook wore civilian clothes, a stovepipe hat, and a sword. When the regiment reached Camp Dennison near Cincinnati for training, members learned that President Abraham Lincoln had called for three-year enlistments. A majority of the men, including their commander, immediately extended their service. An examination of the early regimental rolls shows that of the 11 officers in the regiment, nine were German. In addition, of the 10 companies that enlisted in 1861, the majority of the members were recent immigrants. Names like Gebhard Krug (Company B) and Sebastian


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